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Halifax: House prices reach record high

UK house prices rose by 1.7% in September, equating to an increase of £4,400 to the value of the average property, according to the latest Halifax House Price Index.

This means that UK house prices are now at a record high of £267,500.

This month-on-month rise is the strongest increase since February 2007 and ups year-on-year house price inflation up to 7.4%.

This also reversed the recent three-month downward trend in annual growth, which had peaked at an annual rate of 9.6% in May.

Wales continued to record the strongest house price inflation of any UK region or nation, with annual growth of 11.5% in September (average house price of £194,286).

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Scotland also continues to outperform the UK national average, with growth of 8.3% (average house price of £188,525).

In both nations, the equivalent stamp duty holidays came to an end at an earlier date.

The South West remained the strongest performing region in England, with annual house price growth of 9.7% (average house price of £276,226).

The North West saw the next biggest increase, with house prices up by 9% year-on-year (average house price of £201,927), marginally ahead of Yorkshire and Humber at 8.9% (average house price of £186,815).

The weakest performing regions in terms of annual house price inflation are all to be found in the South and East of England, though these are also the areas with the highest average UK house prices.

Eastern England has seen annual growth of 7.2% (average house price of £310,664) while in the South East it is 7% (average house price of £360,795).

Greater London remains the outlier, with annual growth of just 1% (average house price of £510,515), and was again the only region or nation to record a fall in house prices over the latest rolling three-monthly period (0.1%).

Russell Galley, managing director of Halifax, said: “While the end of the stamp duty holiday in England – and a desire amongst homebuyers to close deals at speed – may have played some part in these figures, it’s important to remember that most mortgages agreed in September would not have completed before the tax break expired.

“This shows that multiple factors have played a significant role in house price developments during the pandemic.

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“The ‘race-for-space’ as people changed their preferences and lifestyle choices undoubtedly had a major impact.

“Looking at price changes over the past year, prices for flats are up just 6.1%, compared to 8.9% for semi-detached properties and 8.8% for detached.

“This translates into cash increases for detached properties of nearly £41,000 compared to just £6,640 for flats.

“Against a backdrop of rising pressures on the cost of living and impending increases in taxes, demand might be expected to soften in the months ahead, with some industry measures already indicating lower levels of buyer activity.

“Nevertheless, low borrowing costs and improving labour market prospects for those already in employment are likely to continue to provide support.

“Perhaps the biggest factor in determining the future of house prices remains the limited supply of available properties.

“With estate agents reporting a further reduction in the number of houses for sale, this is likely to underpin average prices – though not the recent rate of price growth – into next year.”

Mike Scott, chief analyst at Yopa, added: “The Halifax House Price Index for September shows that there was a large monthly increase in house prices as we reached the final end of the stamp duty holiday, with average prices up by 1.7% for the month and the annual rate of increase rising to 7.4%.

“The mortgage approvals included in the September figure largely relate to purchases that will complete in later months and not benefit from any tax saving, so this is in effect already a post-tax-holiday figure.

“It is therefore further evidence that the withdrawal of the tax savings will have little effect on the over-heated housing market, which is still being driven by a severe shortage of homes for sale, good mortgage availability at record low interest rates, strong wage growth, pandemic-induced lifestyle changes and the involuntary savings built up by many during the lockdowns.

“Yopa thus expects the current strong rate of price growth to be maintained into at least the first half of 2022 as we continue to recover from the pandemic and return to a new normal.”

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, said: “Although reflecting some historical buying and selling, the housing market continues to demonstrate remarkable resilience bearing in mind the number of transactions brought forward in the last few months to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

“Nevertheless, we are finding activity has lost some oomph but there is still plenty of life left, supported by record low interest rates and supply, while though rising, is not doing so fast enough.

“The market also seems to be shrugging off rising inflation and the end of furlough, as well as widening economic concerns.”

August saw the average cost of a property reach £262,954, up 0.7% on July and the then highest figure on record.

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK house prices keep rising even as tax break unwinds: RICS

A lack of new homes for sale in Britain boosted prices again last month even as the housing market slowed following a partial withdrawal of a pandemic emergency tax break for property purchases, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) gauge of new buyer enquiries slipped in August to its lowest level since January, as did its measure of agreed sales.

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But with demand still far in excess of supply – driven by people seeking bigger homes as they work remotely more often after the coronavirus pandemic – the vast majority of surveyors polled by RICS – a net 73% – reported rising house prices, albeit down from a reading of +79% in July.

Other surveys have also pointed to continued house price growth since July when a year-long exemption from the stamp duty tax on house purchases was halved in scale in England and Northern Ireland and expired altogether in Wales. Scotland ended the incentive in April.

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“While momentum has eased relative to an exceptionally strong stretch earlier in the year, there are still many factors likely to drive a solid market going forward,” said RICS economist Tarrant Parsons.

“Given the real shortfall in new listings becoming available of late, there remains strong competition amongst buyers and this is maintaining a significant degree of upward pressure on house prices.”

A significant majority of surveyors – a net 66% – said they expected house prices to rise over the next 12 months, unchanged from July’s reading.

Source: EuroNews

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UK house prices now 30% higher than pre-2008 crisis peak

UK house prices hit a new high in June and are 30% higher than the peak they reached before the 2008 financial crisis, according to the latest snapshot of the market.

The property website Zoopla said the average price of a home was £230,700 – as much as 5.4% higher than the same month a year ago.

It said the sharp increase had come as the number of homes being put on the market for sale had dropped by 25% in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2020.

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Zoopla also said the demand for houses was more than double that in the years before the pandemic, and that family homes were particularly popular. Supply has failed to keep pace with demand since January 2021, with no sign of an imminent rebalance.

The findings echoed a study published on Monday by a rival property firm, NAEA Propertymark, which said that 40% of UK properties sold in June went for more than the original asking price, as fewer buyers fought for limited available stock.

It noted the 40% figure was the highest on record, although it also said the average number of sales agreed per estate agent branch fell very slightly in June, down from 12 to 11 in May. Last week Rightmove said frenzied buyer activity was driving the market ever higher.

Propertymark’s chief policy adviser, Mark Hayward, said there were typically 19 buyers per available property.

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“We are very firmly still in a strong sellers’ market; properties are being snapped up swiftly and at record high UK house prices. We do anticipate a rebalancing of the market over the coming months as the stamp duty holiday continues to be phased out and people return to normality,” he said.

According to the latest snapshot from Zoopla, Northern Ireland and Wales registered the highest growth of 8.6% and 8.4% respectively over the last year. This represented the highest growth for 16 years in Wales.

The market remained polarised in London, with demand in the capital’s suburban areas 86% higher than the 2017-19 average, while interest in inner London was just 2% higher.

Zoopla said it expected UK house price growth to edge upwards to 6% in the coming months, before easing back to 4-5% towards the end of the year as the impact of extended stamp duty unwinds.

By Miles Brignall

Source: The Guardian

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UK house prices up by £100,000 in a single year

Research from the national estate agent, Keller Williams UK, has revealed where across the UK homeowners have seen the biggest cash boost in house prices in just a single year.

The analysis of Land Registry data by Keller Williams UK found that the average UK homeowner has seen a cash boost of £23,116 in just 12 months, with the average UK house price climbing from £231,508 in May of last year, to £254,624 in May 2021 (latest available data).

Biggest Cash Increases By Region

Regionally, the South East has seen the biggest increase with the average home now worth £29,199 more than a year ago.

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The latest UK House Price index shows that the North West has seen the largest rate of annual growth of all regions at 15.2%. No surprise then, that the region has also seen the second-largest cash increase in the last year at £24,987.

In contrast, London has seen the lowest rate of annual growth of all regions at 5.2%, but the higher price of property in the capital means that London homeowners have enjoyed the third-highest cash increase at £24,987.

Biggest Cash Increases By Local Authority

The capital is also home to the area that has enjoyed by far the highest cash increase at local authority level. Homeowners in Hammersmith and Fulham have seen the value of their home increase by a huge £101,496 in the last year alone. However, just one other area of London makes the top 10 biggest cash increase, with homeowners in Bromley enjoying a £59,885 jump in the value of their home.

Outside of London, the average house price in Rutland has climbed by £88,625 in a year, with Oxford (£63,009), West Devon (£61,513) and Cotswolds (£60,825) also seeing values climb by more than £60,000.

Other areas to make the top 10 include Elmbridge (£57,168), Mole Valley (£54,824), Derbyshire Dales (£52,181) and Three Rivers (£47,607).

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UK House Prices Have Climbed By 10%

CEO of Keller Williams UK, Ben Taylor, commented:

“The latest market data shows that house prices have climbed by 10% across the UK which is a phenomenal rate of growth. While not all areas have performed as strongly in percentage terms, the differing price of property across the UK market means that the actual cash increase has been sizable, even in the worst-performing regions.

On average, UK homeowners are over £23,000 better off than they were year ago and this is proof, if ever it were needed, that there’s no better investment than bricks and mortar.”

Table shows the annual cash increase in house prices across each nation and region

LocationAveHP – May 2020AveHP – May 2021Change £
South East£320,817£350,016£29,199
North West£164,258£189,245£24,987
London£473,225£497,948£24,723
Wales£162,701£184,297£21,596
East Midlands£194,596£216,077£21,481
South West£256,208£277,603£21,395
East of England£290,117£310,200£20,084
West Midlands Region£200,156£219,793£19,638
Scotland£152,914£171,448£18,534
Yorkshire and The Humber£164,970£181,856£16,885
North East£127,999£143,129£15,130
Northern Ireland£140,841£149,178£8,337
England£247,499£271,434£23,934
United Kingdom£231,508£254,624£23,116
Source: Gov.uk – UK House Price Index (May 2020 to May 2021 – latest available data)

Table shows the areas to have seen the largest annual cash increase in house prices

LocationAveHP – May 2020AveHP – May 2021Change £
Hammersmith and Fulham£679,448£780,944£101,496
Rutland£297,059£385,684£88,625
Oxford£392,528£455,537£63,009
West Devon£244,690£306,203£61,513
Cotswold£382,197£443,022£60,825
Bromley£426,062£485,947£59,885
Elmbridge£589,090£646,258£57,168
Mole Valley£480,145£534,969£54,824
Derbyshire Dales£258,630£310,811£52,181
Three Rivers£499,256£546,864£47,607
Source: Gov.uk – UK House Price Index (May 2020 to May 2021 – latest available data)

Source: Value Walk

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UK house prices fell slightly in July, says Nationwide

House prices in the UK experienced a 0.5% fall in the month to July, following the record highs seen in June.

The Nationwide House Price Index for July shows annual growth was still significant at 10.5%, but down from the 17-year high of 13.4% a month earlier.

The average UK house price now stands at £244,229, compared to £245,432 in June.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner says the modest fallback in July was “unsurprising given the significant gains recorded in recent months”, adding that house prices increased by an average of 1.6% a month over the April to June period – more than six times the average monthly gain recorded in the five years before the pandemic.

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Gardner says higher priced properties have been driving the increase in housing market activity, with Land Registry data indicating that the number of transactions involving properties bought for £500,000 or higher increased by 37% over the 12 months to March 2021, compared to a rise of 2% for all properties.

“As a result, between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 the share of transactions involving a property valued at £500,000 or above has increased from 12% to 18%,” says Gardner.

While stamp duty was a significant contributor to UK house prices, the Nationwide data finds the main driver of transactions was from those who would have moved regardless of whether the tax holiday had been in place.

“Amongst homeowners surveyed at the end of April that were either moving home or considering a move, three quarters said this would have been the case even if the stamp duty holiday had not been extended beyond the original March 2021 deadline,” says Gardner.

“Shifting housing preferences appear to have been the more important factor in driving the increase in housing market activity, with people reassessing their housing needs in the wake of the pandemic.”

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Together director of sales Sundeep Patel says: “Despite house price growth slightly cooling off, we’re still seeing double digits. Indeed, while the stamp duty holiday and cheap mortgage deals boosted prices, the growing shortage of available stock, and the fact that property continues to be sold for more than the asking price, threatens the opportunity for those not already on the ladder to find something affordable this year. There is a concern that first-time buyers may struggle to even get a look in, as deposit-rich buyers such as landlords and home movers snap up properties.

“There’s an increasingly a race for space as well, as we see potential buyers are also showing more of an interest in houses over flats and apartments – largely triggered by the desire to have more living space and a garden as we settle into hybrid working, and come to realise the fact that many of us will be spending significantly more time at home for the foreseeable”.

By Bek Commane

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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House prices set to continue rising as supply shrinks

Residential house prices will increase by 9% this year as the market is driven by the extended stamp duty holiday and the impact of repeated lockdowns, Savills has predicted.

The estate agent has upgraded its expectations from the 4% annual price growth it predicted in March, prior to the chancellor’s stamp duty holiday extension.

Savills still expect property values to rise by 21.5% over the next five years, in line with previous forecasts, as price inflation eases following the removal of incentives.

Price growth continues to be fuelled by historic low mortgage rates, along with greater demand from buyers for properties with more space and greenery following months of lockdowns.

However, the company says that the shape of growth over the next four years is more difficult to forecast precisely given the extraordinary conditions of the past 18 months.

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“Some of the growth generated by the extraordinary market conditions of 2020 and 2021 could unwind at times during 2022, but we see nothing on the horizon that would trigger a major house price correction,” said Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research.

Savills mainstream house price forecasts and economic assumptions:

202120222023202420255yr Total
UK9.0%3.5%3.0%2.5%2.0%21.5%
London7.0%2.0%1.5%1.0%0.5%12.4%
Base rate0.1%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.5%
Unemployment (UK)6.0%4.6%4.0%3.7%3.6%
Annual Income Growth (UK)0.8%0.0%4.1%3.9%3.8%17.2%
Source: Savills, Oxford Economics

Cook continued “New buyer demand continues to outweigh supply despite the potential stamp duty saving falling from £15,000 at June 30 to just £2,500 until the end of September, and this against low levels of supply.

“This imbalance looks set to continue,  underpinning further price growth over the near term, particularly as people look to lock into current low interest rates.  But such strong growth in 2021 will leave less capacity for growth over the next few years, particularly as interest rates are expected to rise a little earlier than leading commentators had previously projected.

“The rate at which interest rates rise will also shape price growth. A steeper than anticipated jump in rates would restrict growth, although it would have to be severe to lead to actual falls in values – an outside risk in our view.”

Interest rate rises are critical to the forecasts, Savills says. The forecasts assume a Bank of England base rate no higher than 0.5% by the end of 2025.

A number of other key factors point to what Cook describes as a ‘soft landing’ for the market, rather than any dramatic correction in property values. 

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Since the market reopened last year, price growth has been driven in large part by more affluent buyers, less reliant on mortgage debt and able to lock into low fixed interest rates. More generally, the pace of economic recovery has helped reduce unemployment levels, stress testing of lending is now embedded in the system, while interest rate rises are still expected to be slow and modest by the end of 2025, meaning a gradual squeeze on affordability.

These factors underpin Savills five-year forecasts, but they also indicate limited capacity for further price growth at the end of this period, without substantially affecting who is able to buy and the number of potential transactions. 

First-time buyers are likely to be increasingly reliant on government schemes and, where available, on the generosity of the bank of mum and dad, according to Savills. 

After a strong start to the year, and over 200,000 transactions in June alone, transaction volumes are projected to total 1.62m this, more than a third – 35% – higher than the yearly average over the five years pre-pandemic.

Savills continues to expect the markets of the Midlands and the North of England to show the strongest house price growth, due to greater capacity for growth before hitting affordability ceilings.  In the short term, however, buyer attention is expected to turn back towards urban markets, including London, as social distancing restrictions and international travel restrictions ease.

This will see the ratio of regional to UK average values slowly converge over the next five years, as the lower value regions see stronger growth, “catching up” with the rest of the country.

 202120222023202420255 years to 2025Av value* Dec 2020Forecast value end 2025
UK9.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%2.00%21.50%£230,920£280,568
North West10.50%4.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%28.00%£176,925£226,464
Yorkshire & The Humber10.50%4.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%28.00%£172,326£220,577
Wales10.00%4.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%26.80%£169,846£215,365
Scotland9.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%24.40%£156,768£195,019
North East8.00%4.00%3.50%3.50%3.00%23.90%£137,531£170,401
East Midlands9.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%23.90%£200,951£248,978
West Midlands9.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%23.90%£207,603£257,220
South West8.50%3.50%3.00%2.50%2.00%20.90%£264,512£319,795
South East9.00%3.00%2.50%2.00%1.50%19.10%£336,984£401,348
East of England8.00%3.00%2.50%2.00%1.50%18.00%£310,240£366,083
London*7.00%2.00%1.50%1.00%0.50%12.40%£486,562£546,896
Source: Savills (*Nationwide)

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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UK House Prices to Stabilise in H2 2021?

The average price of a home in the UK rose 10 per cent between May 2020 and May 2021, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures, released yesterday, showed a slightly increase from the period between April 2020 and April 2021, when house prices went up 9.6 per cent. According to the ONS, the average home in the UK increased 0.9 per cent in May 2021 to reach £255,000. This is £1,000 below the high of March 2021.

Strangely enough, the region with the lowest annual growth was London, where house prices rose just 5.2 per cent between May 2020 and May 2021.

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There was no shortage of industry comment, much of it agreeing that the escalation in prices is due to slow over the second half of 2021.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “In May, double-digit house price rises hit the dizzying heights we last saw just before the onset of the financial crisis, but this could be as good as it gets for a while. We’re not expecting precipitous falls, but rises are unlikely to be as steep in the coming months. While homeowners may miss the boost to their wealth, it could be a blessed relief for buyers.”

Coles said that the figures for May reflected the ending of the Stamp Duty holiday. “Sentiment takes a while to feed into these figures,” she said, “because the gap between the initial enthusiasm of a house buyer and final exchange is a soul-destroying period of around three months. It means many of the property sales completing by the end of May are likely to have been agreed at the start of March – when Rishi Sunak confirmed the stamp duty extension in the Budget.”

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Others were more critical. Karen Noye, mortgage expert at Quilter, said that house prices were ‘completely detached’ from current circumstances.

She added that the economy is coming to a crossroads. “Many businesses will be buoyed,” she said, “by the prospect of the biggest opening since March 2020 on the horizon but simultaneously worried about having to cope with the furlough scheme being rescinded. With the stamp duty taper about to fully go in a matter of weeks the run of house price increases may be soon about to falter.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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UK house prices slip by 0.5% as ‘peak buyer demand likely to have passed’

The average UK house prices slipped by 0.5% in June as the full stamp duty holiday came to an end, according to an index.

It marked the first monthly fall since January, indicating that the peak of buyer demand is now likely to have passed, according to the research from Halifax

But typical property values were still more than £21,000 higher than a year earlier, the bank said.

The price drop in June meant annual house price inflation eased back slightly from May’s 14-year high of 9.6% to 8.8%.

Across the UK, the average house price in June was £260,358.

The stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland is now being tapered, before being phased out completely in the autumn.

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The “nil rate” stamp duty band shrank from £500,000 to £250,000 from July 1, prompting a rush of buyers trying to beat the deadline, and it will revert to its normal level of £125,000 from October 1.

Russell Galley, managing director, Halifax said: “With the stamp duty holiday now being phased out, it was predicted the market might start to lose some steam entering the latter half of the year, and it’s unlikely that those with mortgages approved in the early months of summer expected to benefit from the maximum tax break, given the time needed to complete transactions.

“That said, with the tapered approach, those purchasing at the current average price of £260,358 would still only pay about £500 in stamp duty at today’s rates, increasing to around £3,000 when things return to normal from the start of October.

“Government support measures over the last year have helped to boost demand, particularly amongst buyers searching for larger family homes at the upper end of the market.

“Indeed, the average price of a detached home has risen faster than any other property type over the past 12 months, up by more than 10% or almost £47,000 in cash terms.

“At a cost of over half a million pounds, they are now £200,000 more expensive than the typical semi-detached house.

“That power of home-movers to drive the market, as people look to find properties with more space, spurred on by increased time spent at home during the pandemic, won’t fade entirely as the economy recovers.

“Coupled with buyers chasing the relatively small number of available properties, and continued low borrowing rates, it’s a trend which can sustain high average prices for some time to come.”

Looking across the UK, Halifax said Wales (12.0%) continues to lead the way for annual house price growth, registering its strongest performance since April 2005.

Northern Ireland (11.5%), the North West (11.5%), Yorkshire and Humberside (10.9%) and Scotland (10.4%) also registered double-digit gains.

For Northern Ireland and Scotland, the annual price rises were the highest recorded since late 2007, while for the North West and Yorkshire, price inflation was the strongest since early 2005, the report said.

At the other end of the scale, the South of England continues to lag somewhat, with eastern England and the South East recording price inflation rates of around 7%, Halifax said.

In London, property values were up by just 2.9% year on year, with several unique factors weighing on the market there, the report added.

Mr Gardner said of UK house prices generally: “We would still expect annual growth to have slowed somewhat more by the end of the year, with unemployment expected to edge higher as job support measures unwind, and the peak of buyer demand now likely to have passed.”

Tomer Aboody, director of property lender MT Finance, said: “Even though property price increases in London have been less stellar than elsewhere, prices are still at their highest in the capital and continue to rise, putting property ownership further beyond the reach of first-time buyers in particular.”

Anna Clare Harper, chief executive of property consultancy SPI Capital, said: “The tapering down of the temporary stamp duty reduction takes the pressure off demand.

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“However, supply is still constrained, construction is getting harder and more expensive, and a mass sell-off from property owners is unlikely in the absence of significant interest rate rises.”

Mark Harris chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said: “Cheap borrowing and affordability will continue to give buyers more purchase power, and result in continued demand, even if the peak of the market has passed.”

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) said: “We don’t expect this new balance between supply and demand to change much over the next few months, particularly if economic growth can make up for the ending of the furlough scheme.”

Here are average house prices and the annual increase across the UK, according to Halifax:

– East Midlands, £214,542, 8.6%

– Eastern England, £303,834, 7.6%

– London, £511,234, 2.9%

– North East, £152,989, 9.2%

– North West, £201,836, 11.5%

– Northern Ireland, £163,484, 11.5%

– Scotland, £183,359, 10.4%

– South East, £353,618, 7.3%

– South West, £269,142, 9.8%

– Wales, £192,507, 12.0%

– West Midlands, £221,661, 8.1%

– Yorkshire and Humber, £185,229, 10.9%

By Vicky Shaw

Source: Independent

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Pandemic boom drives UK house prices up by most since 2004

UK house prices jumped by the most in more than 16 years this month, soaring by 13.4% from June 2020, and demand is expected to stay strong while a coronavirus emergency tax break remains in place, mortgage lender Nationwide said.

In monthly terms, house prices were 0.7% higher than in May as buyers rushed to take advantage of the tax incentive and sought bigger homes after their experiences of lockdown.

“While the strength is partly due to base effects, with June last year unusually weak due to the first lockdown, the market continues to show significant momentum,” Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said on Tuesday.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected prices to rise by 13.7% in annual terms and by 0.7% from May.

The tax break, introduced last year as part of British finance minister Rishi Sunak’s emergency support for the economy, had originally been due to expire at the end of March.

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But the first 500,000 pounds ($693,250) of any property purchase in England or Northern Ireland are now due to remain exempt until the end of June, and a 250,000 pound tax-free allowance will run until the end of September.

“Underlying demand is likely to remain solid in the near term as the economy unlocks,” Gardner said.

“Consumer confidence has rebounded while borrowing costs remain low. This, combined with a lack of supply on the market, suggests further upward pressure on prices. But as we look toward the end of the year, the outlook is harder to foresee.”

THE BOE IS WATCHING

As well as the tax break, Sunak’s huge jobs support programme is also due to be phased out by the end of September, raising fears of an increase in unemployment.

Nationwide said it was still possible that the shift in demand for larger properties seen during the pandemic would continue to help the market once the tax break is gone.

The lender published a survey last month showing that almost seven in 10 homeowners who were considering a move would be doing it even without the extension of the tax incentive.

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Nationwide said house prices were close to a record high relative to incomes, making it harder for first-time buyers to raise a deposit. But mortgage payments were not high as a proportion of pay, due mostly to low mortgage rates.

The Bank of England has said is monitoring the housing market as it weighs up the chances of a broader pick-up in inflation as the economy reopens. read more

Last week, the central bank left its key interest rate at an all-time low or 0.1% and made no change to its plan to increase its government bond purchases to 895 billion pounds.

Despite the signs of recovery in Britain’s economy, most BoE rate-setters said they wanted to “lean strongly against downside risks to the outlook”.

Nationwide said house prices in London rose at the slowest rate of any region in England during the second quarter of 2021 but they still increased by 7.3%. Northern Ireland was the strongest performing region, with prices up 14% year-on-year.

Writing by William Schomberg

Source: UK Reuters

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UK house prices rose at their fastest rate since 2004

UK house prices rose at their fastest rate since 2004 in June as buyers competed fiercely in a market rebounding from Covid-19 lockdowns, Nationwide said.

The average price of a property in the UK rose 13.4% in June from a year earlier to a record £242,709, Britain’s biggest building society said. In the quarter to the end of June prices rose 10.3%, up from 6.3% in the first quarter of 2021.

June’s rate of growth was boosted by the shutdown of the property market a year earlier during the first Covid-19 lockdown but prices also rose sharply because of a buying frenzy.

Households are rethinking their property needs in light of the crisis, heading for the suburbs and coastal towns for more space and cheaper prices. The market has also been charged up by Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stamp duty holiday, whose full effect ends on 30 June with some benefits lasting until October.

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David Westgate, chief executive of property consultants Andrews Property, said: “It’s starting to feel like prices are freewheeling with buyers snapping up properties, particularly those with generous outside space, as soon as they come on to the market. The end of the full stamp duty holiday tomorrow may see activity cool a little but not significantly, as there are plenty of buyers who still have time and the motivation to complete before the tapered relief ends on 30 September.”

Prices rose in all parts of the UK, led by Northern Ireland where houses sold for 14% more than a year earlier. Wales was the next strongest region. In Scotland, where the stamp duty holiday ended in March, prices rose at an annual rate of 7.1% – the weakest in the UK.

In 2004, when prices were rising at a similar rate, the housing market was recovering from the Iraq war and heading for the financial crisis that caused Northern Rock to implode.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

Nationwide’s chief economist, Robert Gardner, said demand was likely to remain solid for a while with prices likely to rise further as the economy rebounds amid rising consumer confidence and low interest rates. But he said the outlook was hard to predict with the government set to reduce support for households and businesses but with many people still looking for more space.

“Underlying demand is likely to soften around the turn of the year if unemployment rises as most analysts expect, as government support schemes wind down,” Gardner said. “But even this is far from assured. Even if the labour market does weaken, there is also scope for shifts in housing preferences as a result of the pandemic to continue to support activity for some time yet.”

By Sean Farrell

Source: ShareCast News

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